Academic Achievement and Peer Tutoring in Mathematics: A Comparison Between Primary and Secondary Education by Francisco Alegre, L. Moliner, Ana Maroto, Gil Lorenzo-Valentín (2020)
In the realm of education, the concept of peer tutoring has been around for quite some time. It’s a simple yet powerful idea: students learning from and teaching each other, fostering an environment of collaboration and mutual growth. But how effective is this method, particularly in the field of Mathematics, a subject that is often considered challenging by many students? A recent study titled “Academic Achievement and Peer Tutoring in Mathematics: A Comparison Between Primary and Secondary Education” by Francisco Alegre, Lidón Moliner, Ana Maroto, and Gil Lorenzo-Valentin provides some enlightening answers.
The study was designed as a quasi-experiment, involving pretest and posttest evaluations without a control group. The participants were first and fourth-grade students from two public schools and seventh and ninth-grade students from a public middle school, all in the Valencian Community, Spain. The researchers aimed to quantify the effect of peer tutoring in Mathematics in Primary and Secondary Education under similar settings, ensuring that no differences in organizational settings would influence the effects of the intervention.
The results of the study were indeed promising. It found that peer tutoring in Mathematics reported similar academic benefits for both Primary and Secondary Education. The statistical analysis reported significant improvements in students’ marks for both educational levels. The comparison between these educational levels showed that there were no significant differences in the increments of the students’ marks. The global effect size reported for the experience was Cohen’s d = 0.78, indicating a substantial effect.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into the results. In the first grade, 64% of students increased their Mathematics achievement marks after the peer tutoring intervention, while 36% decreased. In the fourth grade, the increase was even more significant, with 89% of students improving their marks and only 11% showing a decrease. The trend continued in the seventh and ninth grades, with 71% and 72% of students respectively showing an increase in their Mathematics achievement marks.
These results are significant because they suggest that peer tutoring can be a powerful tool in improving academic achievement in Mathematics, regardless of the educational level. This is particularly important given the foundational role Mathematics plays in the curriculum and its strong links with other subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Technology, Biology, and Science.
The study also highlighted the importance of implementing peer tutoring in as similar conditions as possible in both educational levels. This approach allows for a more accurate comparison and ensures that other factors, except for the educational level, do not influence the final outcome.
However, the researchers also pointed out some limitations to the study. These include the absence of a control group, the small sample size, and the use of a nonprobabilistic sampling technique. They also noted that organizational and legal issues, such as access to control groups and obtaining authorizations from students’ parents and school principals, should be considered before implementing a peer tutoring program.
Despite these limitations, the study’s findings are a strong endorsement for the use of peer tutoring in Mathematics. The researchers concluded that peer tutoring reports similar academic benefits for both, Primary and Secondary Education. They recommend that future research should be conducted to further explore the superiority of Peer Tutoring in Primary over Secondary Education in the Mathematics subject.
In conclusion, peer tutoring in Mathematics offers significant academic benefits for both Primary and Secondary Education students. It is a strategy that teachers, pupils, and parents should consider to enhance learning outcomes in Mathematics. The study serves as a reminder that learning is not a solitary journey but a collaborative process where peers can play a significant role in each other’s academic success. It’s time we unlock the potential of peer tutoring andembrace this powerful tool in our educational systems, for the benefit of our students and the future of our society.